Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez stops Edgar Sosa, retains flyweight title
Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Flyweight champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez hoped to make a big impression in his first wide American television exposure.
Mission accomplished. Emphatically.
In a star-making performance in his HBO debut, Gonzalez, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, destroyed well-respected former junior flyweight titleholder Edgar Sosa in the second round with a devastating and electrifying victory on the undercard of middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin's defense against Willie Monroe Jr. on Saturday night at the Forum.
With the crowd cheering wildly, Gonzalez, already a three-division titleholder at age 27 -- he has also won strawweight and junior flyweight belts -- scored three knockdowns in the second round for the knockout victory.
"I'm very happy with my performance," Nicaragua's Gonzalez said through a translator. "By the grace of God and through my training with the late Alexis Arguello, I was able to put on a performance like this. I am so happy to be here on HBO."
Gonzalez came out strong in the opening round. He was landing fast and furious punches with both hands to immediately back Sosa up as the crowd, filled with fans waving Nicaraguan flags, cheered wildly.
In the second round, Gonzalez blew him away. A right hand knocked Sosa to a knee for the first knockdown. Then it was a left-right combination that dropped him to his rear end for the second knockdown.
Moments later, Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs) unloaded a barrage of punches on Sosa (51-9, 30 KOs), 35, of Mexico, who went down along the ropes, and referee Raul Caiz Sr. called it off without a count at 2 minutes, 37 seconds.
"He was good. He surprised me, but he is a very good fighter," Sosa said through a translator. "I can't tell if he's the best because it only went two rounds. If the fight had gone longer, I would know more. It wasn't one particular punch that hurt me. It was a series of punches that hurt me."
Said Gonzalez, "He was a tough fighter, but I thought my power would make the difference."
Fighting at the Forum was a big deal for Gonzalez, who defended his 112-pound title for the second time in his HBO debut -- the first time in 20 years that the network has aired a flyweight bout. The arena was significant for Gonzalez because it is the same famed venue where the late, great Hall of Famer and three-division champion Arguello, Nicaragua's greatest fighter and Gonzalez's mentor and former trainer, fought four of his world title fights, including the one in which he knocked out fellow Hall of Famer Ruben Olivares in the 13th round to win the featherweight crown in 1974.
Sosa, who made 10 successful junior flyweight defenses in his 2007 to 2009 reign, lost for the third time in a flyweight world title bout.
Gonzalez made it clear whom he wants next.
"I want to fight unified flyweight titleholder Juan Estrada next," Gonzalez said. "I want to fight him as soon as possible, and hopefully on HBO and in the United States."
In a 2012 junior flyweight defense, Gonzalez won a decision against Estrada (32-2, 23 KOs) in a fantastic fight. Estrada then moved up in weight and claimed a pair of flyweight belts, which he has defended five times. A rematch is a no-brainer and the biggest fight that can be made in the small division in which Gonzalez's stardom took a big leap.
• In an all-Mexican bantamweight confrontation, Ivan Morales (28-0, 16 KOs), the younger brother of future Hall of Famer Erik Morales, who was ringside, battered Danny Flores (14-7-1, 8 KOs) and stopped him on his feet at 47 seconds of the eighth and final round.
• Paramount, California, junior lightweight Pedro Duran (11-0, 8 KOs) dropped Daniel Perales (5-2, 3 KOs) of Mexico in the first round and steadily wore him down until referee Wayne Hedgepeth stepped in to stop the bout with 10 seconds left in the sixth and final round.
• Junior bantamweight Seniesa Estrada (4-0, 1 KOs) of East Los Angeles dropped San Diego's Carly Batey (4-5-2, 0 KOs) with a left hook in the fourth round and outpointed her in their six-rounder. Estrada, by far the aggressor, won on scores of 58-55, 58-55 and 57-56.
• Lightweight Ruslan Madiyev (5-0, 3 KOs) of Kazakhstan blew out Julio Sanchez (1-2, 0 KOs) of Houston by knocking him out 21 seconds into the second round. Madiyev dropped Sanchez twice in the first round with a flurry of body punches and then finished him off with a clean right hand to the head that sent him sprawling in the second round, as referee Pat Russell waved off the fight without a count.
|-- Courtesy of CompuBox|
Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer